Exploring the Ancient City of Ephesus

The ruins of Ephesus.

The ruins of Ephesus. Photo: Esther Lee

Discovering the past and experiencing amazing places that bear the marks of the ancients is one of the most exciting and rewarding travel activities. There are few things more interesting than walking the streets of history or entering the same monuments that our ancestors built and lived in thousands of years ago. One place where history has been preserved is Ephesus.  Ephesus is one of the most famous ancient cities around the Aegean Sea.  It is located in the territory of modern Turkey, about 20 km away from the holiday resort of Kusadasi and about 5 km away from the sea. Ephesus can be easily accessed from all Turkish main towns and it is a charming destination along the Turkish coast.

In ancient times, the city of Ephesus was one of the greatest Greek settlements of the Ionian coast.  It obtained incredible wealth and much influence as a seaport city.  Some of its most beautiful and historically relevant monuments and attractions can still be admired. Legend says that Androclos, the son of the king of Athens, was searching for a good place to establish a new colony. The oracles predicted that a fish and a boar will show him the place for his new colony.  As it happened, the place where Androclos killed a boar was the location chosen for the new Ephesus. This happened over 2 millennia ago and through the ages, many have ruled over the city, from Greeks and Persians to Romans and Seljuks. The city became a model for Turkey's culture and art and has remained one of the most famous cities of the ancient world.

Today, Ephesus still bears the marks of its former glory, although many of its wonders still lie undiscovered. The most famous monument of the city used to be the Temple of Artemis--one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.   Ephesus is also famous as one of the seven churches of Asia because while several Christian Councils where held there. There are surely many wonders to be discovered in Ephesus and a visit of the ancient settlement is a unique experience, walking around magnificent monuments. The most interesting and impressive attractions of the site include the Library of Celsus, the Basilica of St. John, the Gate of Augustus, the Odeon, the Temple of Hadrian, the Temple of Domitian, the Theater, the Fountain of Pollio and many others. The site of Ephesus is considered the biggest and most important of Roman origin in the eastern Mediterranean and experts say that only about 15% of the vestiges have been uncovered. One could only imagine the magnificence of the city in ancient times.

About the Author

World Footprints co-host Tonya Fitzpatrick with a lot of monkeys on her back.

Tonya Fitzpatrick is the co-founder of World Footprints Media.  A self-described “recovering attorney”, she found her purpose as a cultural connector.  Tonya shares a life full of adventure, dark chocolate and champagne with her husband and business partner, Ian.   She has a deep love for animals and would be happy owning a zoo if she weren’t traveling. 

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